By Linda Baker, Old Palace School
At this year’s Croydon Heritage Festival, the public will be invited to explore and discover some of Croydon’s most fascinating historic buildings.
We are delighted to be welcoming you to Croydon’s oldest building, hidden in the Old Town and housing the school of Old Palace of John Whitgift, this Croydon Manor was also the former home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, John Whitgift. Within a day’s ride of London, this was sometimes used as a pleasant summer retreat in a rural setting but also witnessed some key moments in our past. With indications of a Saxon history and fragments of Norman work, most of the architecture dates from the 15th and 16th centuries with some 18th century alterations. Join a long list of visitors from Henry III and Elizabeth I to the present Queen in our open building tour taking place on Tuesday 21 June from 4:30pm – 5:30pm.
A tour of the buildings will allow our guests to piece together a remarkable story and think about the good fortune that led the Manor to survive everything from Civil War and years of decline to the Blitz. Visit the medieval great hall with its splendid roof, the solar and the beautiful chapel. Archbishop Morton’s dining room and his alterations reflect the early Tudor period with a 16th century long gallery dominating the south front. Last but by no means least, you will be shown the best bedroom of the Manor where Queen Elizabeth I stayed when she would visit Croydon.
The Tudor dance workshop is becoming a popular feature of the festival. Watch or join in as students are taken through 16th century steps accompanied by the recorders of the Sir Christopher Hatton Consort. This will take place in the chapel, adding to the charm of an occasion that conjures up some of the more peaceful and pleasurable moments in the history of the old Palace.
We look forward to seeing you then.